The interview and the resulting dissecting of the media and pundits of the response of Marissa Powell, to a question posed to her during the "interview segment" of the beauty pageant, solidifies my feeling that brevity is better. Many people get tongue-tied and go blank at times. Regardless of the final outcome, which didn't go her way, I am still proud of her.

I feel many pageant contestants still feel we are in the age of oratory during interview-segments of competitions. However we are not observing the Lincoln-Douglas Debates but rather young women contestants being boxed into a corner with hypothetical questions from the stratosphere as to what they would do to solve excessively broad topics, such as world famine or solving gender pay equality. Their opinions are just that: opinions.

I congratulate Powell for stimulating debate, even by an accidental gaffe. I would simultaneously implore the Miss USA and Miss America pageants to abolish the frivolous question-and-answer interview segment and instead give the contestants three minutes to talk about topics of their own choosing, such as their hobbies or goals. Ratings would spike if people could see the merits of a contestant instead of dwelling on a minor flub-up with an answer.

James A. Marples